FRANKFURT, Feb 2  - Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) has launched a 300 million euro ($417.4 million) fund to support small and mid-sized German companies with low-cost equity they can use to weather the financial crisis. The fund -- for which Germany's flagship lender is still seeking additional partners -- is supposed to start up this quarter with the goal of helping companies that have annual sales of up to 100 million euros, the bank said on Tuesday.
The fund will be administered by M Cap Finance and provide financing tranches of 2-10 million euros in the form of non-voting certificates.
Deutsche Bank Chef Executive Josef Ackermann floated the idea for the fund in December amid criticism that banks were lending too little to small companies -- known here as the Mittelstand -- pummeled by the global financial crisis.
Carmaker Daimler (DAIGn.DE) is among the companies reviewing whether to join the fund.
(Reporting by Philipp Halstrick; Writing by Michael Shields)

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